Having a good process for registration can help you collect contact information from people early...
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Having a good process for registration can help you collect contact information from people early, and learn more about attendees who are hoping to come to your event. Registration forms are great tools to learn about considerations you'll need to account for in running a smooth event.
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It can be helpful to start to collect names and contact information for people who are initially interested in joining the event through an “expression of interest” form. While this form should not be considered a final count for registrants, it can help you gauge interest, and gather contact information while you might still be sorting out logistics. Often times you can’t open a full registration form until your logistics are set - dates, locations, housing options etc. This form allows you to share out about the event earlier while you’re still in the planning phase.
Tips for setting up an expression of interest form:
Open your registration as soon as you have all your necessary logistics set. (Those being, the date, location, and information about what you have available for housing). You don’t need to have food or stipends arranged yet (if you’ll be offering them), but all the major logistics should be sorted.
Tips for setting up a Registration form:
Your registration should ask for your attendee’s name, email and phone number at minimum but it can also be helpful to learn more about who’s coming from your event through your registration form.
For logistical reasons, it can be helpful to know who’s going to be at your event for which days. You can have day-tripper registration options for those who are only joining on for a day, and full attendance options as well. Providing a place for people to tell you which days they are planning on attending the event can help you sort out housing and food.
If you are feeding people at the event, it’s important to know about dietary restrictions ahead of time. Since dietary restrictions can be varied (allergies, special diets), it can be easiest to leave this as a blank question for people to fill out.
Dietary restrictions can be logistically challenging, and expensive to manage. If your budget or planning can’t handle specific requests, be clear about that in your pre-event materials, and get in touch with people who share in their registration that they have needs outside of what you’re able to meet.
If people are staying with you overnight, it can be important to have some housing options available to suit different needs. For example, to have handicap accessible housing, family friendly options, and gender neutral options.
If you are assigning roommates for attendees, you can provide a place for people to choose their roommates during registration. Some helpful questions might be:
It can also be helpful to describe the typical housing available, and provide a place for people to express their housing preferences with you. For example: “Housing at this event will be dorm style with four to a room in bunk beds, and an adjacent shared bathroom.” Answers: This is ok with me! or I would like to discuss concerns, or other options.
Family Friendly Events
Making your event family friendly can often mean offering:
Registration can be a good way to find out who’s coming and what their needs are. Here is a good question to help you learn more:
Getting to the event can be challenging for people, especially if the event is in a rural area. It can be helpful to offer transportation options for your event. Your registration form can help you gauge who might be looking for travel support, and who might have a carpools to offer in helping to get people to the event. (Warning- while helping with transit makes events more accessible, it complicates logistical planning!) Last, if people are flying in, it can be helpful to have flight information from people so you know who to expect when.
A second warning- requiring this information can keep people from registering early, since they tend to book travel arrangements late! It might be helpful to collect information on what people Plan or Hope to do to get to your event, and then have the ability to follow up with them for flight numbers and carpools later. For example:
How do you plan on getting to the Barnraising? "I plan on flying, I plan on Driving, I will be looking to carpool."
Committees are a good way to help you find people to lead aspects of the event organizing. The help alleviate pressure from the logistical planning, and allow space for more people to take charge in leading aspects of the event. Some useful committees are:
Registration is a good time to have people sign up for committees. That way those who sign up f for committees can start organizing before the event (if you loop everyone together, for example on an email thread), and so, at the event, you know who’s in charge of what.
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